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Wick High School begins LGBT Charter

By David G Scott

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Wick High School (WHS) has taken a progressive step towards LGBTQIA+ awareness and inclusion by starting its LGBT Youth Scotland School Charter Award.

The LGBT Charter is a programme that supports schools in developing policies and undertaking training to ensure that their school is being as inclusive as possible. Over the next 12 months, Wick High’s Champion Group will be working together to carry out consultations with pupils and staff; to review policies; to update curriculum plans; and to improve visibility and services throughout the school. The overall aim is to make sure the school's LGBTQIA+ community is represented and included in all aspects of school life.

The LGBT Charter has been completed by numerous schools across Scotland – both primary and secondary – and WHS is the first school in Caithness to undertake this journey.

When asked about the importance of LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the school and community, acting rector Sebastian Sandecki said: “It is a really positive step that we are formalising our approach to LGBT inclusion at Wick High School. It is important that all of our pupils and staff know that they are welcome and supported in school.”

Wick High School staff members Mary Coll, left, and Alyson Crone from the Charter Champions Group.
Wick High School staff members Mary Coll, left, and Alyson Crone from the Charter Champions Group.

The Charter Champions Group consists of staff from a variety of departments and pupils from both BGE and Senior Phase. The first policy that they will be updating will be the school’s anti-bullying policy which will then be relaunched during anti-bullying week in November.

When asked about the importance of the inclusion of LGBT issues in an anti-bullying policy, a fourth year pupil explained: “It is important that all pupils in school know that homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying and comments will not be tolerated. After the TIE Campaign visited before Covid I felt the school was making progress but it will be good to remind pupils of what will and will not be accepted.”

If any pupils are interested in learning more about the Charter and the work of the Champions Group, they are invited to speak to Marnie Ker in the English department to find out more. Miss Ker said: “The pupils do not have to identify as LGBTQIA+ to take part in the Champions Group or to come along to our LGBTQIA+ Equalities Group. We have a great gang of diverse young people, some of whom simply want WHS to be a more inclusive, welcoming and positive place – everyone is welcome.”

For more information regarding LGBT Youth Scotland and the Charter visit www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/

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